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_Taltos_ and _The Hobbit_
Bar Harbor
A few months back, I reread Tolkien's _The Hobbit_, an old favorite. Shortly thereafter, I reread another old favorite, _Taltos_, by Steven Brust. Now I wonder if Brust had _The Hobbit_ on his mind while writing _Taltos_. They're totally different in tone, setting, and themes... yet there are some striking similarities.

* Bilbo and the dwarves escape from an elvish stronghold by hiding inside wine barrels. Vlad sneaks into an elf's stronghold by hiding inside a wine barrel.

* When asked how he got Spellbreaker, Vlad describes it as a "present" from its previous owner, much like the story Bilbo initially told about how he got The Ring.

Those were the two that leaped out at me to start making the comparison, but there are plenty more.

* Bilbo is hired by a powerful wizard as a burglar, despite not thinking of himself as a burglar. Vlad is hired by a powerful enchantress as a thief, despite not thinking of himself as a thief.

* The magical hiring figure isn't around for most of the major action sequences. (Admittedly, this is a standard Campbellian trope.)

* Early in each narrative, the protagonists meet a group of semi-mythical creatures who are hospitable and funny (Rivendell elves, cat-centaurs).

* Both protagonists give a name to a magic artifact they acquired en route (Sting, Spellbreaker).

* The last major action of each protagonist is to give an item which they do not technically own to a third party (Arkenstone, goddess's blood).

* Each story features a conversation with a dragon. (Again, a fairly standard trope.)

Silly, perhaps, but I thought it amusing enough to share.

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I didn't catch all of those, but the 'present' line definitely brought The Hobbit to mind when I read Taltos.

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